Forties Fashion

Forties Fashion

From Siren Suits to the New Look

  1. Jonathan Walford
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  • ISBN 9780500288979
  • 25.00 x 23.00 cm
  • Paperback with flaps
  • 208pp
  • 250 Illustrations, 196 in colour
  • First published 2011
‘A must for anyone interested in retro fabrics and clothes designs’ – Crafts
'Those who are interested in fashion history, vintage garments and retro designs will simply love this book! … lovely' – Sewing World
‘A delight to pore over … Fabulously illustrated throughout, it will probably be on the wish list of serious textile departments’ – School Librarian

'Forties Fashion' is an essential sourcebook – stylish and richly illustrated. The result is a glorious celebration of everything from practical attire for air raids (hooded capes with large pockets, zipper-fronted jumpsuits and turbans) to street and anti-fashion, and the creation of Christian Dior’s New Look collection in 1947.

This is the definitive book on fashion in the 1940s – from French style under the occupation and the ‘make do and mend’ approach to solving clothing shortages, through issues of dress, patriotism and propaganda and the development of faux fabrics and rationing, to the rise of American fashion houses and the New Look of the post-war period.

During this period of conflict, fashion managed to express ideals of beauty, femininity and luxury even though practical considerations came first. Jonathan Walford details how fashion was considered not a frivolity but an aesthetic expression of circumstances. By 1940 the pursuit of beauty was promoted on both sides as a patriotic duty.

Some 250 illustrations reveal the wide range of fashions and styles that emerged throughout the Second World War, in Europe, North America, Australasia and Japan. Here are period advertisements, images of real clothes, and first-hand accounts from contemporary publications.

Jonathan Walford is the founding curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, and a founder of the Fashion History Museum in Canada. His previous publications include The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A–Z and Ready to Tear